Piston Slap: Calibrate AWD for an SRT-4?

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
Geovanni writes,

Hi, I have a 2008 Dodge Caliber SRT-4 and for a while I’ve been looking for someone that might be able to help me convert it from FWD to AWD. I was wondering if you think there’s a way of making an AWD Caliber SRT-4 without dumping more money into it than its worth? I think a guy in Russia did it but haven’t found anyone in the states willing to help me out. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

Sajeev answers:

I’ve avoided conventional wisdom by adding Fox-body Mustang aftermarket bits to a Foxy Mercury Cougar since the late ’90s, ignoring well intentioned “just get a Mustang” comments along the way. Just like me, you cannot do this without going upside down for two reasons:

  1. After the AWD conversion, would it sell on the open market for any more than the $11,000 full dealer retail on a perfect, low(ish) mile example? Perhaps a well-heeled forum junky will pay the premium. Going to Carmax for an appraisal would be heartbreaking!
  2. When I hear “someone that might be able to help me,” my cold, bitter soul says, “ain’t nobody gonna help you out of the kindness of their heart.” They’ll help you at anywhere from $50-$100 an hour, however.

Kinda like a dowry in an arranged marriage of two families (cough, not speaking from experience), installing Mitsubishi Evo parts into a distant relative of the GS Platform requires a large amount of cash, careful consideration fabrication and cultural electronic re-calibration.

We haven’t covered the purchase/storage/labor cost of those Evo parts, preferably the whole vehicle, wrecked from an insurance auction. But what exactly is involved here?

In a shocking twist of Internet fate, I found the best information in a YouTube comment.

Even with free/paid help, you’ll spend at least triple the value of your Caliber SRT-4 to go AWD. And it will absorb countless lunches, evenings and weekends to procure, modify, recondition, reprogram and install these bits. Only to have a car most people would rather spit on than sit in. Speaking from experience, mind you.

But hey, if my Fox-body Cougar is a bit of a head turner in the year 2018, why not invest in a future you are only gonna love? I encourage your financial stupidity for future dividends in automotive lunacy!


[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles/Dodge, YouTube]

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

Sajeev Mehta
Sajeev Mehta

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  • Detroit-Iron Detroit-Iron on May 19, 2018

    Some crazy genius put a radial airplane engine in a LeMons car. Anything is possible.

  • Dukeisduke Dukeisduke on May 20, 2018

    Caliber? Definitely a car I'd never drive. What the hell is a Caliber, anyway? It's ugly, and I'm not sure whether it's supposed to be a car or a crossover.

  • Daniel J Until we get a significant charging infrastructure and change times get under 10 minutes, yes
  • Mike I own 2 gm 6.2 vehicles. They are great. I do buy alot of gas. However, I would not want the same vehicles if they were v6's. Jusy my opinion. I believe that manufacturers need to offer engine options for the customer. The market will speak on what the consumer wants.For example, I dont see the issue with offering a silverado with 4cyl , 6 cyl, 5.3 v8, 6.2 v8, diesel options. The manufacturer will charge accordingly.
  • Mike What percentage of people who buy plug in hybrids stop charging them daily after a few months? Also, what portion of the phev sales are due to the fact that the incentives made them a cheaper lease than the gas only model? (Im thinking of the wrangler 4xe). I wish there was a way to dig into the numbers deeper.
  • CEastwood If it wasn't for the senior property tax freeze in NJ I might complain about this raising my property taxes since most of that tax goes to the schools . I'm not totally against EVs , but since I don't drive huge miles and like to maintain my own vehicles they are not practical especially since I keep a new vehicle long term and nobody has of yet run into the cost of replacing the battery on an EV .
  • Aquaticko Problem with PHEV is that, like EVs, they still require a behavioral change over ICE/HEV cars to be worth their expense and abate emissions (whichever is your goal). Studies in the past have shown that a lot of PHEV drivers don't regularly plug-in, meaning they're just less-efficient HEVs.I'm left to wonder how big a battery a regular HEV could have without needing to be a PHEV.